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Download e-book for kindle: Democracy: Problems and Perspectives by Roland Axtmann

By Roland Axtmann

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It would also contradict the intention of the Declaration to suggest that civil and political rights have a higher dignity than social, economic, and cultural rights, and that the enactment of the latter rights is optional. But it is significant, and important to recognise, that the Universal Declaration takes the individual person as its starting point and proclaims his or her rights and entitlements vis-a`-vis the state, economic organisations, or the community. It is the individual as a rights bearer who is positioned centre-stage.

Yet, as we have seen, in Rawls’s argument also, violations of human rights justify military intervention in ‘outlaw states’. In the next two chapters, we shall pursue a line of inquiry informed by the recognition of the diverse uses of the notion of ‘human rights’ in constituting legitimate polities. John Rawls and Ju¨rgen Habermas argue as if it was incontestable of what kind of rights ‘human rights’ consist. The first section in the following chapter addresses this issue by presenting a summary account of statements in charters, conventions, and declarations since 1945 on the contents (or range) of human rights.

The ‘human right’ to self-determination of peoples thus shows paradigmatically that human rights claims may clash; but it also highlights concern about the possibility of reconciling (potentially conflicting) normative ideals (such as internal stability or peace) with human rights norms and the potential cost attached to rights enforcement.

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